The great teachers of the Axial Age — the Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster, the Hebrew prophets right down to Jesus — began the making of the modern God. They re-made their inherited gods, creating a personal God in their own image. We may best celebrate them, not by clinging to their creation but by emulating their work. Developments in psychology mean that our view of persons is unlike theirs, and therefore the God they made can no longer serve as ours. We have to make our own.
So argues Ann Long in this fascinating exploration of personhood, religion and moral value. The revolutionary decentring of the earth in the universe (Galileo) was followed by the revolutionary decentring of the human in the biosphere (Darwin). Now we are living through the even more revolutionary decentring of the ‘I’ in the world, a movement from that which is normal (having persons in society) to that which is moral (loving persons in community).